The first British and International Vocal (Jazz) Academy workshop course will take place from Sunday 21 April 2013 with rolling enrolment thereafter.


One full scholarship and a limited number of half scholarships will be awarded per term, please advise us if you would like to be considered.

WHERE: Ealing W5, West London

WHEN: Fortnightly on Sundays + separate courses on Saturdays and Monday evenings.

WHO FOR: Around 15 individuals who are serious about developing their knowledge and skills with a view to creating successful jazz performance, all styles.

WHY: BIVJA is keen to encourage mature students as well as young people at the start of their careers. There are very few bespoke courses for vocalists/instrumentalists who wish to empower themselves with a greater understanding of the rhythm section, band leading and performance confidence.

IS IT FOR ME? Call for an informal chat on 020 8992 1571 (leave message and we’ll call you back).

This is a high quality enterprise implementing the skills and experience of a full rhythm section. A course for those who wish to acquire a greater understanding of the working of that rhythm section plus harmony, aural, jazz music theory and jazz style through practical sessions integrating performance, audience communication, history, safe vocal technique, extending range and improvisation and all ‘tools of the trade’.

BIVJA promotes a safe but challenging environment

Prior theory knowledge is helpful but not essential. Applicants will be considered on merit and ‘track record’ then invited to attend if deemed suitable, (e.g. someone who has actively trained or taken classes, sung in jam sessions, plays an instrument and wishes to sing, works professionally in another genre and seeks to better their jazz performance or understanding).

This is very much a ‘hands on’ approach so ideally as the course develops ALL students will have acquire some practical knowledge of piano, bass, kit and percussion and band leading skills their application and execution.

The programme content and schedule are yet to be finalised. We are keen to have participants input to consider / incorporate. The day may well roll out like this:

10 – 10:45

Stretch, breath control and technical vocal warm up.

11 – 11:45

Piano, harmony, aural, charts writing / transposing – play and sing

12 – 12:45

Bass and Improvisation – hands on play, experiment, sing

12:45 – 1:15

BREAK (drummer arrives)

1:15 – 2:00

Rhythm, kit and percussion – skills to enhance your set, hands on percussion, experiment and sing, drum parts (pianist taking part here too as required)

2 – 4:00

All together – song performance, analysis, study and feedback (with rhythm section)

Sessions will be followed by a de-brief, student feedback, career support and Q+A – maybe just with Verona and / or tutors – we’ll play this by ear.

Specialist Workshops

Participants will have access to workshops on specific skills such as PA set up and mixing and workshops with visiting professional singers and mentors. Some may require a fee supplement.

The support group created by this enterprise will assist students in self-promotion and performance opportunities. It is hoped that management opportunities under the umbrella of Vamp Jazz will eventually co-exist.

To keep costs as low as possible BIVJA will have humble beginnings starting in one small room. The future plan is to run consecutive classes, rotating to cover all levels of student expertise.

The first BIVJA course is at:

Ealing House 33, Hanger Lane, London W5 3HJ – Room 24 – this room is accessible from street level. There is one step into the front of the building and we will help wheelchair users to access the building as requested. Parking available in adjacent streets and there is good public transport – North Ealing, Ealing Common and Ealing Broadway.

Dates (Sundays) – subject to change

April 21st
May 5th & 19th
June 2nd & 9th
June 23rd (TBC)
July 4th (Public Performance)
July 14th (Masterclass with Claire Martin OBE)

Interview is by application and where necessary individual interview.


The course runs for 7 x 6-hour sessions plus one performance session per term. The participant is required to sign up for the whole term. The structure below is designed to accommodate working musicians and freelancers and students well as those in regular employment.

When signing up to the course you agree to complete the full 8 sessions, fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. You can choose to assist with the performance session if not ready to perform.


£75.00 per session if paid fortnightly in advance (£600.00 total) or
£60.00 per session when paid in a block of 4 in advance (240.00 x 2 = £480.00 total) or
£58.50 per session when paid advance in full (£468.00)
There is a one off registration / admin fee of £15.00.

When signing up to the course you agree to complete the full 8 sessions, fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. You can choose to assist with the performance session if not ready to perform.

Tutors will vary to maximise learning opportunity starting with Gareth Williams – piano; Peter Ind – bass and Les Cirkel – drums.

Course founder

Verona Chard LRAM, Dip Ram studied at Trinity Laban and the Royal Academy of Music and is a jazz / classical / MT crossover singer, actor and vocal coach. She is an MU committee member – Jazz Section; Equity member and visiting coach on X Factor, Poland and at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London.

Past and current students include Claire Martin OBE, Kate Dimbleby, Gill Manly, Ray Gelato; Katriona Taylor; Barb Jungr; Melissa James; Janet Penfold; Gill Cook; Fiona Coffey; Bill Travers; Chiaki Yamauchi. Hannah John-Kaman (Viva Forever); Kadiff Kirwan (Jesus Christ Superstar and NT); Julian Hoult (Jesus Christ Superstar, Soho Cinders); Rhidian Marc and Daryl Armstrong (Les Miserables); Reeda Ouzerdine (The Globe); Anna Clarke (Oliver); Emily O’Keefe (Dreamcoats and Petticoats); Steffan Lloyd-Evans (Joseph); Luke Taylor Striffler (Avenue Q). Grace Rowe (Great Expectations); Ben Jones (Judas Kiss); Daniel Fraser (Chariots of Fire); Adam Ficek (Babyshambles and singer songwriter) Tatiana Okupnik.

Application Form

If you wish to continue please click here to download the application form, fill out and post back to the mailing address at the bottom of this website.

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Private Tuition : Vocal Masterclass

Verona has been vocal technique adviser to a number of successful singers including : Claire Martin, Tatiana Okupnik, Gill Manley, Barb Jungr, Victoria Hart

She is a visiting consultant at the Central School of Speech and Drama.

Students from CSSD have currently gained parts in - Les Miserables (tour), Dad's Army (tour), The Globe etc.


July 21st 2012 - 606 Club, London - Masterclass with Claire Martin OBE, Verona Chard and Gareth Williams

E-mail: [email protected] to request details


If you are interested in one to one classes or details of jazz vocal workshops that Verona is running then email her on: [email protected]

Verona Recommends

Quote 'Verona's Website' and receive a 10% discount on hair styling at R Hair and Beauty Uxbridge Road, London, W5 3LD Tel: 020 8896 2982 Tube: Ealing Common